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From Consortium News
Trump and Kim meet Sunday before Trump became first US president to step on North Korean territory.
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There is hope for some real progress in U.S.-North Korean relations after Sunday morning's unscheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, largely because Russia and China seem more determined than ever to facilitate forward movement.
Sitting down before the talks began, Kim underlined the importance of the meeting. "I hope it can be the foundation for better things that people will not be expecting," he said. "Our great relationship will provide the magical power with which to overcome hardships and obstacles in the tasks that needs to be done from now on."
Trump was equally positive speaking of Kim:
"We've developed a very good relationship and we understand each other very well. I do believe he understands me, and I think I maybe understand him, and sometimes that can lead to very good things."
Trump said the two sides would designate teams, with the U.S. team headed by special envoy Stephen Biegun under the auspices of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to start work in the next two to three weeks. "They'll start a process, and we'll see what happens," he said. See here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who met individually with President Trump at the G20 in Osaka, have been singing from the same sheet of Korea music particularly in the wake of Xi's visit to North Korea on June 20-21. Putin's remarks are the most illuminating.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Putin pointed to "the tragedies of Libya and Iraq" meaning, of course, what happened to each of them as they lacked a nuclear deterrent. Applying that lesson to North Korea, Putin said,
"What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to ensure the unconditional security of North Korea and how to make any country, including North Korea, feel safe and protected by international law. ..."
"We should think about guarantees, which we should use as the basis for talks with North Korea. We must take into account the dangers arising from " the presence of nuclear weapons," he said, adding that if a way can be found to satisfy North Korea's understandable determination to protect its security, "the situation may take a turn nobody can imagine today."
"Whether we recognize North Korea as a nuclear power or not, the number of nuclear charges it has will not decrease. We must proceed from modern realities ..." And those realities include fundamental, immediate security concerns for both Russia and China. Putin put it this way:
"[W]e have a common border, even if a short one, with North Korea, therefore, this problem has a direct bearing on us. The United States is located across the ocean ... while we are right here, in this region, and the North Korean nuclear range is not far away from our border. This why this concerns us directly, and we never stop thinking about it."
Xi's "Reasonable Expectations"
Last week in Pyongyang, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is waiting for a desired response in stalled nuclear talks with the United States.
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